Some Billboards Will Go From Blight To Alright

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Wed, Dec 16, 2009 at 7:30 AM

The city of Los Angeles might be famous for bungling its regulation of out-of-control billboards and supergraphics, but for the latter part of winter some of those outdoor advertisements around town will blossom into works of art.

Sure, it's little consolation for those of you whose views are aglow with day-sun warmth of thousands of LED lights advertising the latest Hollywood blockbuster, but organizers of the "How Many Billboards? Art In Stead" exhibition, Feb. 5 through March 26, hope its alfresco displays will get everyone to think more about how these mega-canvases affect our lives.

click to enlarge Eileen Cowan's billboard. - MAK CENTER
  • MAK Center
  • Eileen Cowan's billboard.

"In 'How Many Billboards?, the streets of Los Angeles become the walls of the exhibition, and the city itself becomes a large museum," states exhibition founder Kimberli Meyer, Director of the MAK Center for Art and Architecture at the Schindler House and the co-curator of the show. "We have put together an important group of 23 artists that span multiple generations, and we've asked each artist to take into account the landscape of the city and the implication of the billboard as pop-public space."

The exhibition purposefully resides at the intersection of art and public debate about the role of billboards in Los Angeles, according to organizers. It "attempts to investigate the political and artistic implications of these media surfaces that saturate the city's landscape, while also offering an alternative vision for public art display in Los Angeles, in which the city becomes the context for exhibition," according to a MAK Center statement.

Featured artists are to include Michael Asher, Daniel Joseph Martinez, Renée Green, Kori Newkirk, Allen Ruppersberg, James Welling, and Yvonne Rainer. The exact locations of the billboards has not been revealed.

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